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CIA Expands Iraq Presence 10 Years After Disastrous Invasion

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The ten-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq should be a reminder to the U.S. of the perils of militarized intervention. But that’s a lesson the U.S., and the Central Intelligence Agency, refuse to learn.

The CIA is reportedly ramping up its presence in Iraq, according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reports that the primary reason the CIA is increasing its activity in the country is the civil war in Syria; there has already been spillover from the war in Syria into Iraq, and the CIA wants to stop more of it from happening.

The intelligence agency will provide support to Iraqi counter-terrorism units fighting an al Qaeda offshoot that is also fueling the insurgency in Syria--an insurgency that the U.S. backs, though the group reportedly affiliated with al Qaeda in Syria has been labeled a terrorist group by the State Department.

Here’s more on the CIA’s role via UPI (the Wall Street Journal article is behind a paywall):

The White House directed the CIA to support CTS [Counter-Terrorism Service] -- an elite anti-terrorism group that reports directly to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- in a series of secret decisions from 2011 to late 2012, the Journal said.

The CIA has since ramped up its work with the CTS, taking over a mission long run by the U.S. military, administration and defense officials told the newspaper.

U.S. Special Operations Forces previously worked with CTS against al-Qaida in Iraq. But the U.S. military role has dwindled since U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq at the end of 2011.

It’s important to note that the CIA is working with a unit that has been accused of committing human rights abuses. According to Human Rights Watch, the Iraqi CTS helps to control a secret detention facility in Baghdad that reports to the Iraqi prime minister. The CTS also helps control another prison where detainees were routinely tortured, according to the human rights group.
 

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